|Courtesy of matt hutchinson/Creative Commons Licenses|
Even though I mostly use Facebook for networking with peers in youth ministry, there are those times I find myself checking up on old high school and college classmate. I know I’m not alone on this, there will be times when you are surfing the social media scene when you ask yourself, “I wonder what _____ from high school/college is up to?” It’s an honest question because the person you are thinking of has had an impact on your life; therefore, you do care (even if it’s a little bit) of their well-being.
If you’ve been in ministry long enough you know that not all of your ministry volunteers will be with you forever. Some you are glad to see go (even if it’s just a little bit); however, the majority of the ones who are no longer with you miss. You may even begin to wonder, “What is _____ up to and how are they doing?” You might remember why some of them left, and then with others you haven’t got a clue. All you know is that you sort of miss them and sort of want them back. So, how do you re reach out to former ministers?
- Reevaluate Why They Are No Longer Serving: Before you contact them, remind yourself why it is they are no longer serving in the ministry. If they left because of clashing with leadership, with other ministers or because of something immoral, chances are you don’t want them back. But, if someone left because of a busy season, a transition in serving or life, then there shouldn’t be a problem with asking.
- Send A Personal Invite: It’s hard enough to get involved the first time; however, to get involved a second can be a little humbling. Whether they left on good terms or not, they might feel a little embarrassed or tentative to ask you; therefore, a personal invite from you will break the ice. Also, when someone asks you personally to get involved they know that your intentions are thoughtful and authentic.
- Sit Down One On One: When you invite them back into ministry make the first step a one on one meeting. The reason you need to meet before plugging them back into ministry is because you want to make sure that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want someone getting back involved because they felt guilty letting you down the first time. You also need to cover changes that have occurred or address why they left in the first place. Either way, make it personal and show them that you care.
- Start Them Slow And Steady: Even if they are rearing to go and want to jump in with both feet, start them out slowly. You want them to adjust to any changes that have taken place, whether it’s in the structure of the program or who you now have as a point person. They are going to feel close to you because it was you that invited them; however, you need to make sure that they are acclimated to the team and oriented for success.
There is nothing better than having a former minister rejoin the team. It’s like getting together with a long lost friend and picking up where you left off. When it comes to your team it’s important to stay in touch with anyone who has left, so that you know how to invite them back in, if the opportunity arises. But, above all else, make sure you take your time because you’ll want them around for the long haul.
How do you invite former ministers back into ministry? Should we even consider it?